The London T-Charge has now taken effect, as of 23 October 2017.
Anyone driving into the London Congestion Zone between 7am and 6pm Monday-Friday will now be required to pay an additional £10 surcharge if their car doesn’t meet certain emissions standards.
The new charge applies to cars, vans, minibuses, motorhomes, horseboxes and almost all motor vehicles except motorcycles.
Which vehicles are affected?
The good news is that anyone driving a hired van probably won’t be affected. That’s because the new charge only applies to cars and vans which don’t meet Euro 4 (IV) emissions standards.
Broadly speaking, this means any vehicle (petrol or diesel) registered before 2005, although there are a few exceptions.
You can check if your car or van is affected on the T-Charge website here.
Will rental vans be affected?
Hired vehicles are covered by the T-Charge. But the good news is that almost all rental vans are much newer than this. Most are less than three years old.
Indeed, here at vanrental.co.uk, we have never heard of a reputable van hire company offering 12-year old vans. So van hire drivers heading into London shouldn’t need to worry about the new charge.
This is one more reason to consider hiring a van for occasional use, rather than owning one.
Does this replace the congestion charge?
No! The existing London Congestion Charge is unchanged.
Drivers hit by the T-Charge will still need to pay the congestion charge, meaning they will have to pay £21.50 per day to drive into the city.
Coming in 2019
There are two further changes planned for 2019. Both will hit drivers of older cars and vans.
5 more low emission zone cities: London isn’t the only UK city with air pollution problems. Birmingham, Leeds, Derby, Southampton and Nottingham are all required to setup Clean Air Zones (CAZ) by 2019. So charges and/or restrictions are likely for drivers of older vehicles in these cities.
London gets tougher: The T-Charge is an intermediate solution that will be replaced in 2019 by the London Ultra-Low Emissions Zone. This is expected to be expanded to include more vehicles than the T-Charge. Presumably this means that vehicles will need to be Euro 5 or even Euro 6 compliant — we don’t know yet.